The husband of a fired Virginia lawyer is going on trial in a brutal attack on another lawyer and his wife in their McLean home.
Andrew Schmuhl is accused of torturing and nearly killing the couple in 2014 before one of the victims was able to activate a panic alarm. Schmuhl's wife, Alecia, had recently been fired from the male victim's Arlington law firm.
Prosecutors believe Alecia Schmuhl was just outside the home during the attack, communicating by phone with her husband.
In court Monday, Andrew Schmuhl, who is also a lawyer, pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him in the Nov. 9, 2014 attack.
The Schmuhls will be tried separately, a judge ruled last month. Andrew Schmuhl's lawyers asked for separate trials when they learned his wife might use the defense that she's been a victim of years of spousal abuse and was programmed to do whatever her husband asked.
In January, lawyers for Andrew Schmuhl put a court on notice they may employ a very unusual defense: involuntary intoxication, arguing that his mental state at the time of the offense resulted from the use of medication.
Victim Leo Fisher testified about the attack during a preliminary hearing, saying that a man knocked on the door and claimed to be a law enforcement officer, but then burst into the home and stunned him with a Taser.
"I saw him point something at me and Taser me," Fisher said last year. "I fell to the floor and I was just seizing for some period of time."
The attacker bound Fisher and slit his throat.
Fisher's wife, Susan Duncan, was stabbed and shot. The bullet grazed her head.
"He raised a gun and he shot her ... and I thought he killed her," Fisher previously said.
Fisher said he recognized the attacker as Alecia Schmuhl's husband.
Police arrested the Schmuhls after a brief chase. Andrew Schmuhl was arrested while clad only in a diaper.
The Schmuhls are charged with abduction and malicious wounding for the attack.
Alecia Schmuhl will go on trial this summer.